WHAT CAUSES SEASONAL ALLERGIES?
Seasonal allergies are caused by specific allergens such as ragweed, grass or tree pollen. When these allergens come in contact with your body, they bind themselves to the mast cells (a type of white blood cell) found in the body, which are loaded with histamine. Your body then considers them foreign particles. In response, your immune system starts to release large quantities of histamine and other chemicals from these mast cells to combat the allergens.
The release of histamines produces the symptoms of sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, red, itchy and watery eyes. Seasonal allergic reactions can begin at any age. Areas that have poor air quality can result in more intense symptoms.
HOW DO YOU PREVENT SEASONAL ALLERGIES?
Unfortunately, seasonal allergy symptoms can be difficult to eradicate. The first step in managing the condition involves avoiding the specific allergen you are allergic to. This can be difficult especially if you are active outdoors in the summer. There are simple ways to get some relief such as:
- Keeping the windows of your home and car closed.
- Turning the air conditioner on.
- Remembering pollen release is at its peak in the morning and early afternoon.
- Making sure the filters in your furnace are clean.
HOW DO YOU TREAT SEASONAL ALLERGIES?
Remedies to relieve eye symptoms of seasonal allergies can involve:
- Oral over-the-counter anti-histamine medications taken during your particular allergy season.
- Allergy shots – for those who suffer from severe seasonal allergies. This is usually preceded by tests performed by an allergist to determine exactly what substances you are allergic to.
- Placing a clean face cloth soaked in ice-cold water over your closed eyes.
- Prescription medications that combine an anti-histamine and a mast cell stabilizer work best by providing immediate and long-term relief.
- Over-the-counter artificial tear drops can also help reduce red, itchy and watery eyes.
- Over-the-counter anti-histamine and decongestant eye drops can help to remove eye redness, but they can also create a dependence if used inappropriately.
For those who suffer from seasonal allergies, the eye symptoms can be very uncomfortable. Despite the different remedies out there to deal with seasonal allergies, there is no cure. It is not recommended to diagnose and treat your symptoms yourself. Please call Kniaziew Optometry to get recommendations on the best therapy for seasonal allergy relief.